Better Late Than Never

Today at COMSTAC, Brant Sponberg mentioned that NASA was going to be releasing a “procurement synopsis” this week discussing the various commercial space station resupply options that NASA wants to explore. This isn’t the full-up RFP that we’ve been waiting for (that won’t be out till the end of the year, with a draft coming out in Thanksgiving), but this should at least clear up some questions, and start the feedback process. I was originally going to blog this when I first heard about it, but was asked by my source to hold off for awhile. However, now that Jeff has the scoop out, I figured it was ok for me to also blog about it.

According to Jeff:

Someone asked what sort of regulations regarding “human-rating” of a crew transport vehicle would apply here. Sponberg said that, during the development phase, NASA would be open to using the FAA’s own regulations for the vehicle, since it would only be carrying one or more commercial pilots. However, once NASA starts to procure actual crew transport services, with the vehicle carrying NASA astronauts, NASA would “absolutely” require the vehicle to meet its human-rating requirements.

This does appear to leave the door open for a commercially crewed cargo container operating only under FAA regulations instead of NASA Human Rating requirements. It’s kind of funny that NASA feels FAA regulations (ie the AST launch licensing process) is good enough for commercial pilots to fly on, but has to molly-coddle their astronauts with “human rating” requirements.

All that aside, this is potentially very good news. Any time NASA starts acting more like a customer than a tax-funded competitor is a good thing.

The following two tabs change content below.
Jonathan Goff

Jonathan Goff

President/CEO at Altius Space Machines
Jonathan Goff is a space technologist, inventor, and serial space entrepreneur who created the Selenian Boondocks blog. Jon was a co-founder of Masten Space Systems, and is the founder and CEO of Altius Space Machines, a space robotics startup in Broomfield, CO. His family includes his wife, Tiffany, and five boys: Jarom (deceased), Jonathan, James, Peter, and Andrew. Jon has a BS in Manufacturing Engineering (1999) and an MS in Mechanical Engineering (2007) from Brigham Young University, and served an LDS proselytizing mission in Olongapo, Philippines from 2000-2002.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Better Late Than Never

  1. dave w says:

    Of course, we know one thing will
    probably be true of any proposed NASA “human-rating standard”: the
    Shuttle will have to have been
    able to meet it, and existing, reliable boosters must be unable
    to meet it without “a lot of
    extra cost”… it’s not realistic
    to expect NASA, while standing on
    this insistence on having “human-
    rated” vehicles (that they
    claim don’t exist yet), to
    admit that the Shuttle never
    would have qualified…

    -dave w

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *